In Carharrt Work in Progress Kinfolk Mens Mens Clothing Mens Fall/Winter 2017 Review Mens Fashion Mens lifestyle Mens Style Menswear

A Work In Progress Kicks It With The Kinfolk: Kinfolk X Carhartt WIP Pop-Up


It seems that with the fast-paced tone to life in general nowadays there seems to be a constant desire for the next, the new & the noteworthy before the now, the current & the happening even has time to peak.  Understandably so, since Tribeca and Tokyo learn the same things at the same time and move on to the next things in routine time-zoned fashion.  From a fashion & retail standpoint, the Winter and Summer collections may set the tone, but the deliveries in between are those collective stylish shocks that keep the quarterly earnings heartbeat pumping.  Wonderful undertakings like pop-up shops and collaborations to keep fashion relevant, exciting and fresh are very modern ways to keep up with a quickened fashion cycle, to keep older brands relevant, to create foot traffic for brick & mortar locales and keep the public's vulture-like culture-hunger tempted.

With that in mind, a great stop for you this week would be at Kinfolk.  Fresh off their latest collaboration with The Gap, they've got a brand new in-store pop-up of limited edition items with the workwear staple Carhartt WIP in their Williamsburg, Brooklyn location and on their website now.  The pop-up merges Kinfolk's streamlined and fresh urban mobile aesthetic with Carhartt WIP's simple and ruggedly minimal workwear for a generation of moderns who connect with everything from bicycle & skate culture to Americana sportswear.  Check out the chill workshirts, tees, outerwear and trousers that walk the fine cool line between workwear and streetwear and take in the curated cycle-culture niceness that is Kinfolk.  The Kinfolk X Carhartt WIP Pop-Up will be up and running for the next few weeks at the shop @ 90 Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn NYC and online here.

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In Comfort Foods Cooking Dave's Gourmet Entertaining Food and Drink

Good Food Sets The Mood For Getting Fresh: Dave's Gourmet Pasta Sauces


Cuffing season ushers in a series of questions.  One may ponder whether a bar hop or a scroll through the cell's log could produce a swaddling night turned into a cozy morning or a tipsy evening turned into a hungover midday.  Should it be a 'Netflix and Chill' or 'Firestick by the Fire' kind of evening?  Do you make reservations then retreat back to your place or rely on your skills in the kitchen to make spooning that welcomed retreat?  Well, I say flexing your culinary skills could lead to cuffing and more.  Sometimes a simple and well-executed meal full with a full flavor profile can be magical and make all the difference between spending the evening wrapped in their arms or wrapping your arms  around the throne.  Over the top is not necessarily the best.  Strong and rustic can be effective and satisfying.  For example, a nice toasted crusty French bread dusted with rosemary, garlic & olive oil, a buttery smooth fettuccine and a deliciously fresh pasta sauce can create quite an impressive evening.  Plus, it doesn't take long to make such a tasty prequel to an evening of canoodling and cuffing when a company like Dave's Gourmet has done 1/3 of the heavy work for you.

A pasta sauce can take time and effort which is why it's so amazing that one of my go to company's for hot sauce and just recently, overnight oats, now have pasta sauces under its belt.  The Speciality Food division of Dave's Gourmet has pasta sauces with flavors like Roasted Garlic & Sweet Basil, Red Heirloom and Butternut Squash that are all gluten-free, excellent sources of Vitamins A & C and contain ingredients that you can actually pronounce.  I tried the Roasted Garlic & Sweet Basil the other night with a simple fettuccine and I was very content with now natural and fresh it tasted.  A lot of times, jarred sauces go heavy with contents and wind up having a sugary or paste-like flavor.  The natural acidity of the tomatoes in this sauce was perfectly balanced with the natural cane sugar & sweet basil and overall the sauce had a nice chunky texture to where the garlic and tomatoes were actually visible.  

Another thumbs up for Dave's Gourmet and the brand's efforts to keep food that is good for you more palatable and in its natural form.  For more on these pasta sauces head on over to their site here.  Dave's Gourmet's Pasta Sauces are now available on their site and at your finer local groceries and supermarkets.

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In I Rant You Read Mens Mens Clothing Mens Fashion Menswear OpEd

I Rant, You Read: The Motley Crew Of Men At The Lunch Table


Have you looked around lately?  Men seem to have collectively gone through an all-life crisis.  While yes, the teens still dress like teens and swear by sweats and streetwear to the letter, there seems to be men in their 30s and 40s who share in that same swearing.  There are professional seasoned men who have their tailors right up front on their speed dials just as there are junior dandies in their 20s who comb TopShop and Zara for bespoke-looking blazers on a budget.  An interesting phenomenon are those men who should be going through midlife but who are turning back the hands of time in the gym donning flimsy tees and thigh-hugging denim that have seemingly changed places with young waifs who dress in oversized tailored trousers, learned balmacaans and rubber sole heavy generic-looking trainers.  The idea of dressing like how you feel as opposed to what you do has affected the 25 year old CEO and the 45 year old tech entrepreneur alike.

The on-going liberation of menswear has to do with the quick-pace of modern society that has systematically sped everything up and redefined the depth of acceptance in of everything from information absorption to job tenure to popular culture.  Liberation may be too "burn a bra" kind of word; let's say reformulation instead.  With seemingly the wrong people wearing clothes deemed right by people uptown and people downtown alike, it's almost as if current menswear is saying 'get beneath the clothes and you may find a credibility to choices behind the clothing.'  Simply put, clothes no longer only make the man when the man of choice could be wearing a three piece suit or a track suit.  


Think the punk rocking hip hop vibe of Migos together with the nattily tailored vibe of NBA ballers on their way into a game together with the driven young gamer programmer in sweats and sock-sneakers together with the conscious tree-hugging gym-to-street muscly fitness rat.  Examine the lanky un-metrosexual goof getting the vixen, nerd-culture coolness, trainer-life as everyday life and rappers bedecked out as the modern day rockstars.  We are living in a culture where age is becoming as welcomingly fluid as gender.  We are walking through the age of 'sheeple', mavericks and influentials where consistently looking at the body and its adornment instead of demanding, seeking and having the courage to show depth can prove fruitless.  Perhaps an oversized hoodie, dad-coat ,  ortho-trainers and slouchy trousers hiding the body makes one observe harder or dig more earnestly for depth.  Maybe a room full of fit bodies, deep v's and biker jeans causes an immunity that makes one hold onto words of depth more than biceps, or so it should be.  There is such a cross mash-up of ages, cultures and challenged & redefined masculine standards that had to change since times changed.  The interesting thing about how fashion defines the time in which we live and decipher how we wear what we wear is that you never know who is going to gravitate to what & when and then the why's can range from wanting to belong to the collective to very personal individual needs.


It's safe to say that the provocative as well as what's age-appropriate, masculine, strong and generational have been redefined.  Blame the pace of modernity, blame the drinking of the collective Kool-aid being drunken, blame information overload OR accept modernity as a vital fact of life, accept walking to your own beat as a sweet life soundtrack and accept that sometimes picking and choosing the information you learn and absorb can be the difference between the awkwardness of being a nerd and hulkiness of being a gym-head.  However, accept that if you own it, both can be just as alluring.

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In Book Review Cocktails Drinks Food and Drink Wines and Spirits

Lessons In The Sauce: Drink Like A Bartender Book Review


I'm not embarrassed to tell you that my self-bartending history has gone through quite questionable phases.  From almost getting thrown down the stairs at a house party in Astoria after mixing the devil's soup in a 32 ounce sized fast-food cup to sharing a subway bench one New Year's morning with a hobo after delving stomach-empty into a Hennessey-heavy pour your own libations affair, I've learned drink-mixing the hard way.  However, I never wanted to be a bartender, but do enjoy spirits so much so that alcohol-wise I want to at least know my ass from my elbow lest I wind up drunk on either after a night of foolish imbibing.     

The years have matured me and while I now know the my tolerance levels much more than I did 20 years ago, there's always room for improvement.  Enter Drink Like A Bartender by Thea Engst and Lauren Vigdor, 2017 (Simon & Schuster) which not only seeks to make ordering easier for the modern drinker, but also offers to put a cool ease back into how you order by shedding light on many things you may order or never had the wherewithal to try ordering.



Drink Like A Bartender aims to give you insight from the opposite side of the bar.  The book has a delightful air of humor to its delivery of the chock full information for everyone from the Norm of 'Cheers' to the sheltered virgin at her first dive bar.  I think a good way to look at this book is as part   handy-sized encyclopedia, part textbook, part recipe book and part satyrical reference guide to the world of choices behind the bar, on that restaurant menu and out in that vineyard.  In a great modern fashion, Engst and Vigdor aim to give their seasoned veteran bartender POV's to categories of spirits, beers and wines and some histories, hints, tips and opinions involving subcategories of each.  They've also included perspectives from bartenders all over the country on personal pet peeves, individual drinking insights and suggestions on how not to sound like an idiot when ordering.  However, don't think of it as condescending, but rather see it as ways in which a guest can better enjoy their drinking experience by trying new choices, finding new ways to enjoy familiar drinks and quite possibly maximizing flavor while saving dollars.  With the tips learned, impress, and the cash saved, tip your bartender!


Drink Like A Bartender is available now on Amazon.com

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In Arteasan Comfort Foods Entertaining Food and Drink Vegan

The Curated Sip: Arteasan Teas


My older age has softened me a tad.  Not physically, but preferentially.  It seems that while I still like sweets, depending on what it is, I tend to either like a small taste of really sweet things or a less sweetened taste to things I really like.  There must be truth that one can grow saltier with age.  However, when I find a good balance that doesn't bring out my non-culinary salty side, I can dig it.


So my drink pick of the week is Arteasan, a nice eclectic line of cold teas that have delicious culinary pairings.  Don't think honey and lemon, but rather great mash-ups like Watermelon/Mint with Matcha tea, Passion Fruit/Elderberry/Peppermint with Green tea, Peach/Rosemary with Yerba Mate tea and Pineapple/Starfruit/Ginger Oolong tea.  When the sweet factor is toned down, the subtle nuances of the ingredients and the wonderful observations of them being paired together with their respective teas shine through.  Each of the four flavors hint at subtle restorative mental wellness properties like glow, be well, focus and cleanse and the delicateness of each ingredient speaks to that.  These are great on their own and can even be paired with spirits for cocktails (gin, perhaps) or  with champagne for spritzers.  Arteasan is proof that when the sweet is toned down the flavor shines through.

www.Arteasan.com

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In Cocomels Comfort Foods Food and Drink Vegan

Sweets For All The Right Reasons: Cocomels


The Fall is physiologically the time of year when your brain makes a fool out of your body and inadvertently makes it fatten up for the upcoming colder months.  That is if you don't have mind over matter.  Now if you have matter over mind then there better be good reason for the disappearing discipline.  I generally find the reason in a bar after a heavy work day when I find a happy hour barrage of Old-fashioneds in quaint little glasses.  Lately I've been finding a great reason in questionable Netflix horror movies and a can of lightly salted Pringles.  However, just recently I found a new sweet reason to give new meaning in not wanting to explain myself.  Decadence can do that to you.  However, when that decadence transplants you to a place of nostalgia and adult culinary carnality, then you just eat and don't think about it.  

Such was the case when I discovered Cocomels, a deliciously sinful candy treat.  Think of a wonderfully rich, soft and creamy caramel candy only instead of being made from cow's milk, they're made from coconut milk.  Yes coconut milk, the vegan warrior's creamy savior and, in my opinion, an all around better-tasting (and more digestible) way to answer "Got Milk?".  What's even better about Cocomels is that they are non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan.  


However, despite the niceties that have gone into concocting these confectionaries, the best thing about them is the taste!  Remember how I said that part of the new reason for matter over mind is the culinary whisking away to a place of nostalgia?  Well, for all my West Indian readers, there's a delicacy called coconut drops that is essentially grated coconut, sugar and coconut milk with the optional drop of strawberry syrup.  My first bite of the original Cocomels took me right back to my first sampling of coconut drops with I was still small enough to play handball on the curb.  

Cocomels are so creamy, decadent & satisfying and the additional flavors certainly don't disappoint.  Want that saccharine loveliness with the sweet nuttiness of vanilla then there's Cocomels Vanilla.  Desire to have the pleasant explosion on the palette of sweet and salty then there's Cocomels Sea Salt.  If you have the grown and seasoned bittersweet tang of espresso on the brain and then there's Cocomels Espresso, which eerily tastes like a caramel macchiato.  There's a flavor for everyone and they won't disappoint.  Cocomels is available now at select retailers like Wholefoods and Dean & Deluca, but for a list of where they may be found near you, head on over to their website here.

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